my {long} weekend in pictures.

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{We met up with some new friends at the Zoo on Friday morning. The baby gorilla wasn’t out, but we got to see this sweet one taking a snooze!}

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{It was Daphne’s first Zoo trip, but she really spent most of the time in the stroller. For lunch, we found a nice shady spot near the tigers and Baby D got to venture out for a bit.}

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{We started solids with Daphne on Friday to celebrate her turning 6 months! She was super stoked about it.}

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{But then made this face a lot. She didn’t love it (or even like it) at first, but things got better quickly (as you will see).}

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{I got home from Pure Barre on Saturday morning and Eloise had let Aaron do her hair in piggies! That is big for us. She will sometimes let me do her hair, but then three seconds later just pulls it out…}

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{We dropped Eloise off at the Sadliers’ house for her first overnight stay on Saturday night. I was worried that she would change her mind at the last minute, but once we got there she was like “when are you leaving Mama?” Bittersweet for sure. She had the BEST time though, as you can see she got to make her own pizza! Thank you SO MUCH Amanda and George for taking such good care of her.}

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{And meanwhile, we went to Musashi’s for date night and had some time with Baby D!}

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{As crazy as it was because we didn’t have a highchair at the restaurant (!) we did a second introduction of solids. And Daphne LOVED it!}

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{After a lazy morning, we picked up Eloise from her sleepover and headed to Snohomish County to Flower World. It’s been almost two years since we completely re-did our yard and we still haven’t planted plants in the flower beds. So, we attempted to get some plants to fill the yard and mostly succeeded. It was super hot and we had a cranky, hungry toddler close to naptime coupled with WAY too many plants and choices so we didn’t get everything we needed. Baby steps, right?}

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{There was a lot of eating around here this weekend and I have forgotten how cute it is when babies eat. Even though it is such a mess!}

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{Get it girl!}

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{This morning Aaron headed outside to work in the yard early (to mow and plant and clean-up the beds) before it got too hot, so the girls played while I ate breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen. They are already playing together and it makes my mama heart melt. The sweetest. Also, Eloise refused to wear clothes for nearly the entire day.}

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{Attempting to plan out my week after I did meal planning and grocery ordering. School starts mid-week and I am so ready for it!}

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{Finally getting some hydrangea in the front yard. We have much bigger plans for the front, but for now Aaron has cleared out this side bed next to our parking pad and we are focusing on that. I think it will be some time before we can really overhaul the entire front!}

First I have to tell you that in true Seattleite style this weekend was unbearably hot. Like record-setting hot. 90 degree heat is no bueno for the PNW and thank goodness we have an A/C in our living room and basement bedrooms. And the heat is supposed to continue until mid-week. I am planning on being out with the girls early in the morning and then holing up inside once the heat starts!

But, this weekend was still really great. I purposefully tried not to plan too much because weekends, especially long ones, just fly by. Of course, I had a mental list of many, many things to do and only some of them got done, but I still feel like I was productive without being exhausted.

I am still in disbelief that Labor Day has come and gone and fall is almost upon us. Where the heck did the summer go?

How was your weekend?

M

friday I’m in love.

Welcome back Friday! Just a few fun things I wanted to share since both of the girls are napping at the same time – wahoo!

{one} Inchbug Orbit Labels.

{via Inchbug}

Eloise takes a water bottle to pre-school each day and since I don’t have a label maker I stuck a piece of Washi tape with her name written in Sharpie. Not the best method, I know. Then I saw one of these plastic rubbery labels on a friend’s daughter’s water bottle and knew it would perfectly solve my problem! I ordered one purple set for Eloise (she was SO excited that they were purple!) and one teal set for Daphne (for the future). There are four labels in a pack for less than $15. Sold!

{two}

{via Amazon}

We have the Bugaboo Bee stroller (which we LOVE) and decided against getting a double stroller once Daphne was born since it seemed way too burdensome. But I did want an option for Eloise since having her in a stroller is WAY easier! Luckily Bugaboo makes this Wheeled Board that attaches to any Bugaboo stroller. Other stroller systems have similar boards for older siblings, but this is the only one that I know of that also has a seat. It is a game-changer. I can’t tell you how many comments we get on it. Every single time I am out with it. And it is mostly older ladies who are eager to tell their daughters! If you are going to have two young kids – an infant and a toddler – I highly recommend this!

{three} Tea Collection Opera House.

Tea Collection Opera House Dress (Toddler Girls, Little Girls & Big Girls)Tea Collection Opera House Romper Dress (Baby Girls)

{via Nordstrom – dress, romper}

One of my favorite things about having two girls is the idea that I get to dress them alike! Not all the time, but imagining them in matching (or coordinating) outfits makes my heart swoon. We don’t have much from Tea Collection, but while I was perusing Nordstrom for the girls, I ran across this dress and romper from the Opera House collection. Seriously, the cutest!

{four} Walker Family Goods Kickstarter Project.

{via Kickstarter}

One of my old friends from home (we met in middle school!) launched a Kickstarter called Walker Family Goods which is all about easy travelling duffel bags. Lex and her husband Loren have two kiddos and make the most beautiful travel and wedding videos. Definitely go check out this project. I can’t wait to get my duffel later this year. I chose the yellow one but am loving the newly announced blush color which will be released if they hit their stretch goal before the end of the funding campaign.

What are you loving this week?

M

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This post contains affiliate links.

project baby #2 {daphne’s birth story}

{warning: this is likely an overly long post for a lot of readers, but I wanted to share details for those who have asked & also to have a record to share with daphne one day. feel free to skip down to the pictures, or skip this post completely!}

As most of you know, I pretty much fell off the map as I neared my due date. In fact, I only blogged up to week 37!  Once I hit 38 and 39 weeks, I kept telling Aaron that I should do my weekly photo, but by 40 weeks I was over it! This is actually the final picture I took of me and the bump, on February 24th, 4 days before I went into labor. You can see I stopped wearing pants (dresses were a godsend even though it was still really cold outside!) and my toiletries and make-up were all packed up and ready to be tossed into the hospital bag (well bags, plural, because I just kept adding things!).

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Physically, those last three weeks, I felt great! I was tired, but I was actually sleeping really well, my heartburn had subsided, the baby was not into my ribs, I had zero swelling, and I didn’t have any (noticeable) early labor symptoms. BUT, mentally and emotionally I was so drained and so ready to be done. I felt like I might go into labor at any moment from February 15th on (that’s the day I had my mani/pedi so I was sure that would do it!) and so I was completely exhausted and anxious by the time my parents came into town on February 20th. We were all worried that they wouldn’t make it in time, but alas, we waited. And waited. And my dad actually extended his trip a few days, but ended up getting on a plane about 5 hours before I had my first labor contraction!

That last week was difficult for me because I felt like I couldn’t plan anything. So we would wake up in the morning and since there wasn’t a baby, we would maybe plan a short outing, just in case I went into labor. My due date was definitely the most difficult day for me, and after that, I felt like I could better handle not being in control (which I very obviously wasn’t at that point!) and try to enjoy these last days with my family and with Eloise before Baby Foot arrived. I also stopped all social media at that point, including responding to any and all texts and emails, so sorry if I was ignoring you!

On February 28th I had my 40 week (well, 39 weeks + 6) appointment with my midwife. I remember checking into the front desk and seeing the on-call board: Sarah was the on-call midwife (my favorite one since she also helped delivery Eloise) and Dr. Foltz was the on-call OB (also my favorite since she was my original OB years and years ago); I made a mental note that it would be a great day to have this baby since those are exactly the providers I would have wanted if I had my choice! It wasn’t until after Daphne was born that I actually made that connection… I think that is what I needed to get things started!

Anyways, my check-up went well with my weight and blood pressure, and baby’s heartbeat. At that point Sarah went ahead and checked to see if and how much I was dilated and I was almost 4 cm! I was really surprised since it didn’t feel like I was having early laboring at all, but clearly all that tightening in my belly (like Braxton Hicks) was having an impact. Since I my body was already dilating on it’s own, it made sense to have my membranes swept (which only is effective if you are already close to baby time, like within 48 hours!). It was so, so uncomfortable (and borderline painful!) and I was honestly uncomfortable for the remainder of the day (cramping mostly). Since I was at 41 weeks, my midwife also had me schedule an ultrasound for the end of the week as well as a non-stress test (to monitor baby’s heartbeat) which are both standard for post-due date cases. Apparently after 42 weeks the placenta stops working as efficiently so close monitoring of mama and baby are required as well as discussion about intervention.

We took it easy for the rest of the day and said good-bye to my dad. By that evening I was really feeling crampy, so I called it a night early to try to get some rest. I got ready for bed and was lying down for just a bit when I had my first (real) labor contraction. I noted the time – it was 9 pm – and tried to go to sleep. Well, that was wishful thinking because the contractions kept coming and seemed to be fairly regular. At 9:42 I called Aaron, who was upstairs watching TV with my mom, to tell him to come down and time my contractions. Within 30 minutes, my contractions were becoming regular (4 to 5 minutes apart and a minute long) and Aaron called our doula, Jennie, to give her a head’s up and have her start making her way to our house. Then Aaron called the doctor’s office to give Sarah, the midwife, an update and they agreed that we would wait for Jennie to get to the house before making any further decisions.

At 10:50 pm, Jennie arrived at our house and I was still downstairs in our bed laboring on my side (with my pregnancy pillow, thank goodness!). My contractions were still consistent, and, spoiler alert, never stopped. Jennie talked me thru my next few contractions, and I decided I was ready to head to the hospital. At that point, the last thing I wanted to do was get in the car because having contractions in the car is the worst, but I also knew that I didn’t want to have a homebirth, so there really wasn’t any choice. Aaron called Sarah back to let her know we were headed to the hospital and that we would meet her there.

We pack up our last-minute stuff (and by we I mean Aaron), and say good-bye to my mom, and get in the car around 11:30. I had a number (like 4 or 5) of contractions in the car, but luckily since it was so late, there was no traffic (even on I-5) so we made it to the hospital pretty quickly! Aaron pulled into the hospital’s parking garage at 11:40 pm. After parking, I had a few contractions on the way into the hospital, but luckily we had Jennie with us and she was able to help me as Aaron navigated us up the elevator, thru the security desk (you don’t need to show ID if you are in labor!), and up to L&D triage. My contractions were getting stronger and much more intense. At 11:50 I was checked in and at 11:55, the nurse checked and I was 7 cm dilated. I remember looking at Jennie and telling her that I needed a break. I also remember making a reference to wanting something to help with the intensity (an epidural), but no one even acknowledged it! Not because they didn’t care, but it was WAY too late by then! And really, I wanted an un-medicated labor, but I probably would have given anything to have just a minute of rest at that point! The nurses wheeled the triage bed directly to the L&D suite.

At midnight my labor was strong and from the time I got onto the triage bed, I kept my eyes closed. That was the only way I could handle the intensity of my labor. The nurses wanted me to move from the triage bed (stretcher) to the actual hospital bed, but I refused. I remember them telling me I would be way more comfortable and then I wouldn’t have to move after the baby was born, but there was seriously no way that was going to happen. I also remember seeing Sarah at this point with her scrub cap on and ready to deliver. And almost immediately upon entering our hospital room, I felt like I needed to push.

At 12:05 am, Sarah checks and I am fully dilated. She gave me the green light to start pushing even though my bag of waters was still fully intact. Once the baby started crowning, everyone could see that baby’s hair floating in the amniotic sac, which was apparently really cool. (Rarely babies are born completely in the amniotic sac, called in the caul, and it is seen as a sign of good luck!) After the baby’s head is born (and the amniotic sack breaks on it’s own), her shoulder gets stuck below my pubic bone (shoulder dystocia). I was too focused on pushing (and the pain/intensity) to really realize the severity of the situation, but Aaron has told me he was terrified. I remember hearing someone (it was Sarah) call “SHOULDER!” and then being turned onto my back by the L&D nurse (as I was pushing on my right side at the time) which was horribly, horribly painful! Apparently this was to get back-up in case the baby couldn’t turn and pass under the bone, and a physician and NICU team arrived immediately. There is a series of maneuvers that are used in this (rare) situation, and luckily, Sarah was able to get the baby turned and I was able to continue with a safe and healthy delivery in about 90 seconds. Baby Foot Lower was born at 12:19 am on March 1st!*

Despite the slight complication at the end, Baby’s APGAR scores were high (7s I think) and no visit to the NICU was necessary. And while technically the Baby’s gender was a surprise, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear it was a girl! Baby remained unnamed for at least a few hours (we were already in the post-partum room) as Aaron and I weren’t decided on a name.** We each had a name that we liked; mine was Margot and Aaron’s was Daphne. I will let you guess who won!

We were able to skin-to-skin almost right away (me and Aaron both) and by 12:50 am Baby was nursing for the first time. I remember the moment I first held Daphne that it felt so strange, like I was cheating on Eloise. It was such a weird feeling because when Eloise was born, at that moment, I was holding the little one that made me a mama, but with this second baby, I was already a mama… she felt like a stranger for just a moment! (I have heard other second-time mamas have felt the same way!)

So even though she made us wait (and wait) until March to be born, once she decided, she was here in a hurry: just over 3 hours in all.

Welcome to the world Daphne Lucille! I wouldn’t have been able to have done any of this without Aaron, Jennie, Sarah, and all of the L&D staff, and my mom who stayed with Eloise. Plus, we had so much support from friends and family. We really are so blessed!

M

And here’s Eloise’s birth story if you are interested!

*March 1st is also Aaron’s dad’s birthday, so Daphne shares the day with her Papaw.
**Many of you have asked what our boy’s name would have been, and since the likelihood of us having a third child is basically nil at this point, we have been sharing it (though we reserve the right to it if we ever do have a boy!): Fitzgerald Benjamin. Fitz as a nickname. Benjamin is a family name on both sides: Aaron’s oldest brother, and the middle name of my dad, brother, and grandfather.
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project baby #2 {it’s a girl!}

As some of you know from calls, texts, Instagram, or Facebook, Baby Foot arrived on Wednesday, one week past my due date!

We are so thrilled to announce the newest member of our family:


Daphne Lucille Lower

March 1, 2017 | 12:19 am | 8 lbs 9 oz | 19.5 inches

We are home now and doing well, and all pretty smitten with Baby Daphne. I will be back soon with all of our updates!

Welcome to the world Daphne!

M

my weekend in pictures.

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{We visited Papa at work on Friday in his new office. Eloise approved and really liked his badge holder!}

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{We had a family dinner at the Sadliers – a super fun tradition now – and we finally wrangled the kids into jammies for story time.}

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{More baby prepping means baby gear is starting to make an appearance. Eloise is obsessed with the infant car seat!}

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{And the moment of truth came Saturday when we installed the infant car seat in the car. We have a slight issue with Aaron needing the seat back further than the car seat will allow… so, we can either put Eloise behind the driver’s seat and turn her forward-facing – which I really am not ready for! – or get her a slimmer car seat… Hopefully we have a few weeks to figure it out!}

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{Testing out my Solly Baby Wrap with one of Baby Foot’s stuffed animals and really love it! I like that it is adjustable so Aaron can wear it too if he wants. My mama got me the Rifle Paper Co. print and it is so, so beautiful!}

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{I wanted to make sure to get a picture of Eloise in her new tunic that my sister-in-law knit for her for Christmas – it is so gorgeous! And Eloise looks like she is ready to start kindergarten… where did our baby go?}

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{We discovered that Baby Stella fits into our newborn diapers. Eloise has been obsessed with changing her diaper recently.}

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{Nesting is in full effect around the Lower house and I finally got a chance to clean the fridge!}

I have purposefully not made plans for these past few weekends because my to-do list(s) are so long still and I am liking just lying-low. But, we got so much done including getting art up on Eloise’s new room and scheduling a deep house clean (YES)!

How was your weekend?

M

my weekend in pictures.

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{Amanda hosted such a fun Baby Shower/Celebration for me and Baby Foot on Saturday morning (I will be sure to share pictures soon!) and I finally got a chance to wear my new Hatch Collection jumper. A little out of my comfort zone (and Aaron doesn’t love jumpers or rompers so much) but I am in love! So comfy and I want to wear it everyday!}

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{We finally had to say good-bye to our Golf Wagen which we turned back in as part of the TDI scandal. It was a bit of a sad day.}

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{Eloise was sporting a super high pony thanks to Grammie. That face!}

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{Cuddles with this girl on a cold and blustery evening.}

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{Grammie slept in the new Murphy bed that Aaron built this fall and winter, and Eloise was obsessed. She wanted to be all tucked in with all of her friends.}

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{Cuddles with Papa while we waited for dinner this evening. Love these two.}

We had Grammie back in town and it got warmer than freezing, so it was a pretty great weekend all around! I was so honored to have a Baby Shower thrown by Amanda and loved, loved being around so many women that mean so much to me – my tribe. Tomorrow is back to normal with Eloise headed back to school and back to our regularly scheduled activities. A bit of a relief as we count down the weeks until this baby is born.

How was your weekend?

M

friday I’m in love.

Welcome back Friday & happy almost fall!

{one} Cat & Jack for Target.

Cat & Jack

{via Target}

Target has a new kids’ clothing collaboration which am slightly obsessed with: Cat & Jack. I am slightly picky about the clothes I buy for Eloise, mostly because I want her to wear normal clothes, like adults wear. So much of this line fits the bill (at least for me) and is really whimsical which I also appreciate. You can see Eloise sporting some of the line here from her first day of school.

{two} Purely Elizabeth Granola.

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{via Purely Elizabeth}

Most of the summer I noshed on Ellenos greek yogurt for breakfast, but wanted a little more heft to it since I was feeling hungry just a short while later. Since Eloise basically wants to eat anything & everything that I am eating, I set out to find something that I would feel totally comfortable with her eating too. I was super surprised to find this great line of granola (& apparently a ton of other products) at Target – though you can get it lots of places – that is organic, non-GMO, made with ancient grains, and free of refined sugar. Granola, usually, is a food that seems to be healthy but in actuality it most isn’t, though that doesn’t stop me from eating it! But this granola is so, so good, & it is healthy! I like that it isn’t overly sweet & it also isn’t super crunchy. We are all obsessed!

{three} Weekday Meals.

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad Photo

{via Food Fanatic blog}

Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Salad is a must make for any occasion in minutes! Filled with Italian seasoned grilled chicken, garlic and parmesan cheese! | http://cafedelites.com

{via Café Delites blog}

Weekday meals can be so tough since the very last thing that any of us want to do at the end of our work day is cook. But, we really prioritize a family meal every night with Eloise (except on the rare occasion Aaron as to work late) & eat a home-cooked meal at least six nights a week. I meal plan on Monday afternoon & grocery shop on Tuesday which helps keep things organized for the week, but I am always on the hunt for simple, quick, and delicious meals (aren’t we all?). Pinterest has been super awesome to us this week & I found two new meal winners: Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad and Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Salad (linked above). Even Eloise gobbled up both of these meals! What are your favorite recipes to make?

And be sure to check out what Kendra’s loving this week!

What are you loving this week?

M

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